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Sound Bites: Jamal Adams and Rickey Jefferson weigh in on Jalen Mills’ injury

Jalen Mills, with the mic, stands behind a seated Jamal Adams during LSU's media day. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Jalen Mills, with the mic, stands behind a seated Jamal Adams during LSU’s media day. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

LSU safety Jalen Mills suffered a significant ankle injury and will miss at least the first two games of the season.

On Wednesday night at a scheduled interview session, fellow DBs Rickey Jefferson and Jamal Adams spoke about Mills’ injury, what it means for them, the team and more.

Jamal Adams

  • “It’s tough. Definitely tough. I think we’re going to bounce back. He’s going to be fine. He’s going to be right there in the mix for us come mid-season or whenever he comes back. It’s the next man up. That’s how it’s always been at LSU.”
  • “It was tough for him. It’s tough for anybody that gets injured. His head is high and he’s going to keep faith. He’s going to bounce back from it.”
  • “I was away from the play and I just saw him down. Maybe he rolled up on his ankle or something. I still don’t even know what it is.”
  • “No energy lost (at afternoon practice). Next man up. I think in the back end we have so much depth and so much talent … Rickey Jefferson, he stepped right in and no let down.”
  • “I took a little bit more role of being more vocal, trying to help others sideline to sideline (without Mills). When Jalen was here, he was helping that side and I was kind of helping this side. When I was out there the second practice, I was trying to be more vocal to the whole entire secondary and defense.”
  • “The next man up. It’s an LSU tradition. It’s what’s been here since before I had even got here. Next man up, whoever it is, it’s not going to be a letdown.”

Rickey Jefferson

  • As a position group we were hurt, went in there to console our brother while we could. I know he was at low spirit. He has his spirits pretty high right now. We’re just waiting for him to get back. He will be back sooner than later. We’re just anticipating that, and trying to do the best we can right now in execution and not missing a step.
  • “I feel like I was going to play a lot this upcoming year anyways, but it definitely gives me the opportunity to play more, looking forward to contribute to the team any way I can.”
  • “Just gave him hugs. Prayed for him. Situation like that happens, it’s very sad. But you’ve got to try to keep his head up and let him know everything’s going to be alright.”

How I Voted: Preseason

Ohio State and coach Urban Meyer begin the season at the top of our Top 25. (AP)

Ohio State and coach Urban Meyer begin the season at the top of our Top 25. (AP)

How I Voted will be a weekly blog in which Ross Dellenger reveals his AP Top 25 voting with a blurb on each explaining that team’s ranking.

The AP preseason poll is scheduled for release Monday.

1. Ohio State

2. TCU

3. Auburn

4. Michigan State

5. Alabama

6. Oregon

7. Baylor

8. Georgia

9. Notre Dame

10. UCLA

11. Florida State

12. Southern Cal

13. Arkansas

14. Georgia Tech

15. Missouri

16. Clemson

17. Wisconsin

18. LSU

19. Arizona

20. Ole Miss

21. Arizona State

22. Oklahoma

23. Boise State

24. Louisville

25. Tennessee

  • Others considered: Mississippi State, Kansas State, Utah

LSU Twitter Mailbag: You asked about QBs, Arden Key, receivers and more

D.J. Chark, left, and Travin Dural make up a talented receiving corps. (Travis Spradling)

D.J. Chark, left, and Travin Dural make up a talented receiving corps. (Travis Spradling)

Twitter Mailbag is a blog series running each Tuesday or Wednesday answering readers’ questions about the LSU football and teams. Readers submit their questions through Twitter each Tuesday, and the best are posted here with answers. Follow us on Twitter at @DellengerAdv to submit a question.

First off – and this goes for everyone – we don’t know how anyone is “looking” or “doing” or “playing” because practice is completely closed. We must rely on the word of LSU coach Les Miles and players.

There does seem to be a strong feeling around the program that freshman Arden Key will eventually take a starting job at some point this season. He’s pushing Tashawn Bower hard. The defensive end spots are certainly not guaranteed for anyone, though Bower and Lewis Neal are penciled in for now.

Key is receiving rave reviews from just about everybody – not only about his athleticism, speed and skills but his smarts. He’s quickly picking up stuff coach Ed Orgeron is tossing his way.

To your next question: This is as hot a topic as the quarterback battle (not really, but it is getting attention). Corey Raymond said Sunday that Dwayne Thomas is very much in the mix with Ed Paris and Kevin Toliver for the starting job opposite Tre White.

Toliver said Sunday that he expects himself and Paris to rotate at the position. Paris said in the spring that this is “my time.” So who’s gonna be the starter? Who knows.

I think those chances are better this year than they were last year. This is a stab in the dark, but there’s probably a 50-60 percent chance he does “run away” with the QB job and start every game – barring injury. Signs point to him being the leader in the battle:

  • He’s been taking the first snaps with the starters since Day 1 of camp
  • He’s been taking the majority of the snaps with the starters since the Day 1 of camp
  • He worked exclusively with the starters during summer workouts while Jennings was suspended for six weeks
  •  According to many, he’s developed and progressed mentally since last year, when he struggled with the playbook

Again, tough to tell how the D is looking since we can’t watch practices or scrimmages. However, those who did watch the scrimmage and do watch practice feel the defense is ahead of the offense. Les Miles has mentioned that a time or two.

This is a difficult question. Les Miles doesn’t necessarily have a quick hook with QBs, but, if Harris has turnovers and mental lapses, I could see him quickly bringing in and possibly keeping in Jennings.

With Jennings, he knows what he’s gonna get – a guy who doesn’t make too many mistakes but isn’t too explosive. That’s why he played with him in the last seven games of last season. He’s the safe QB, the one LSU can win 8-10 games with but, probably, not much more. He’ll probably go the safe route again if Harris has costly mistakes.

Players and coaches are raving about the linebackers’ speed. Deion Jones, Duke Riley and Kendell Beckwith all are speedy guys who can lay hits. Riley and Jones have been doing it for years on special teams, and Beckwith surged into a starting role mid-season, finishing second on the team in tackles.

However, depth could be a problem. LSU has just seven scholarship linebackers, and DC Kevin Steele said five of his linebackers are ready to play now – Jones, Beckwith, Riley, Lamar Louis and Donnie Alexander. Injuries on the D-line and linebacker group – because of depth – could spell disaster.

I think that’s a possibility. The unit is talented and deep and, somewhat, experienced. The Tigers seem to feel like they’ve got as many as five to six who can play. That means spreading it out a little more. You might see less fullback and more three and four-receiver sets this season.

D.J. Chark has emerged enough as an option that the staff moved Malachi Dupre to the slot when the Tigers get into a three-receiver set just so Chark and Travin Dural can split out wide. Trey Quinn and John Diarse are solid slot guys who can block, too.

Freshman Tyron Johnson, the state’s No. 1 player, is in the mix as well. Some compare him to a bigger Quinn.

On The Record: LSU OC Cam Cameron

Cam Cameron at media day Sunday (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Cam Cameron at media day Sunday (HILARY SCHEINUK)

LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron heads into Year 3 with the Tigers. He spent time with reporters Sunday during the team’s annual media day, discussing the QB battle, the offensive playbook and more.

Here’s the story version of the interview with Cameron and quarterbacks Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings.

Q: How did the quarterbacks perform in Saturday night’s scrimmage?

Cameron: Based on last night, I was most pleased with how comfortable they were, their body language. It wasn’t perfect by any stretch. It rivals the first scrimmage we had two years ago and that one was a pretty special one in most people’s minds.

Q: When did the light come on for Brandon Harris?

Cameron: A lot of lights went on in the spring. Just when you can sit back and reflect on any season, especially a season that had some ups and downs, you’re going to reflect, you’re going to take it personal to a degree, gonna let that help you grow.

Both of those guys shouldered everything that took place as part of every quarterback’s maturation. I think lights started to come on last spring, and, again, last night was a great indication of where we’re headed.

Q: How much better do you feel with the playbook now? Are you able to do more with these guys? Does it free you up?

Cameron: Practice tells you that. It’s easier now to go to a young guy and say, ‘Of these 15 things, give me the five you like the most, give me the next five and we can do without the other five.’ Of 15 things, you’re not going to need all 15.

When they’re first coming into any system, there’s things they just have to learn. There’s no way around it. You’ve got to give some things a chance. You may take some lumps in practice, learning a scheme and ultimately leads to something that can help us in a game. Now it’s just asking them and getting more feedback from them and then trying to help them get into the right play against the right coverage or the right front and getting the ball distributed throughout the offense.

That’s what I think you’ll see more than anything this year is you’re going to see our quarterbacks with the ability to spread the ball – backs, tight ends, receivers and not so much driven in one direction in any particular game.

Q: Could using and playing both quarterbacks be helpful for this team?

Cam Cameron and Brandon Harris. (Travis Spradling)

Cam Cameron and Brandon Harris. (Travis Spradling)

Cameron: I wasn’t in the (Les Miles) press conference you were just in. I think we’re stil in the process of having these guys getting better and bette.r I don’t think any decision along those lines … it’s not something we’ve talked about, not something we’re focused on.

I think we’ll keep heading down this path and Les will ultimately come up with a guy he thinks is best. Asterisk on that. You’re going to need more than one and need more than two. Justin McMillan stepped in last night and, bang, touchdown. Two plays later, bang, touchdown. He’s improving, he’s learning.

Q: Why give Brandon Harris the majority of the first-team reps?

Cameron: You can read way too much into that. Talking about six (more) snaps in a 50-some play scrimmage. First scrimmage. Some people flip a coin. Some people … one guy starts this scrimmage, somebody next scrimmage. I wouldn’t read too much into that.

We’re just trying to focus on both guys getting reps with both groups. It speaks to itself, but I wouldn’t read too much into six snaps.

Q: If Brandon was the guy, is part of it keeping it grounded and you may not want to announce something like this?

Cameron: Those all make sense. I don’t think you’re ever going to give away any strategic advantage that you feel like you may or may not have. We’ll let it play out. We’ll see how Les chooses to handle it.

From the coordinator/QB perspective, we’ve got to get guys playing as high a level as we can. They’re young. Young guys can improve rapidly and right now our guys are improving rapidly.

Q: Were you pleasantly surprised about Saturday’s scrimmage?

Cameron: Pleased. Not satisfied. These guys are maturing probably more normally than would matter to a lot of people.

Reality is opening game is coming and they all count. Our sense of urgency is beyond whether a guy is a sophomore, junior or McMillan a freshman. Our urgency here is completely different than a lot of places. For what we’re playing for, we’ve got to be hitting on all cylinders Week 1, carrying that into Week 2 no matter who the quarterback is.. Pleased, not satisfied and they aren’t satisfied. I was just in the quarterback room. You could see the look in their eye. They were excited about the things they did and excited about the things they can improve on.

We could have easily had one of the better first scrimmages since I’ve been here with another 6-8 plays made.

Q: Do you sense the tight ends having a breakout year?

Cameron: I think so. I think DeSean Smith was a big part of that. He had gotten banged up early in the season, and young players tend to … they don’t respond well when they get banged up and missed practice. He came back and stayed healthy and then got banged up the first play of the game.

Colin Jeter has made progress. Dillon brings a unique role for us as a true point anchor blocker. Those guys are like a lost art today. Feel like we’ve got that guy, got some guys that can do both. Jacory Washington got banged up in the spring. But he came to life. Caught a touchdown last night and ran right out of the stadium and nobody caught him. This is going to be a really good year for our tight ends. People will tell you, a good tight end, other than a running game, is any quarterback’s best friend.

Q: Do you wrestle with the fact that you don’t necessarily give it to the tight end when you can have a bigger play with receivers?

Cameron: Not really. You’re not going to push the ball to a guy who’s not ready to have the ball pushed to him. But at some point in time if they’re doubling both of the guys on the outside in some kind of Cover 2 and we can isolate our tight ends on Mike linebackers and safeties, we’ve got to be able to take advantage of that.

I think with the combination of our running game and an interior tight end, big targets – Jeter’s 6-6, Jacory is 6-5, DeSean is 6-4 – they’ve all got 6-8, 6-10 wing spans. Big catching radiuses. We’re working our even number passing tree and breaking cuts. That’s something a lot of people don’t do anymore. You’re going to see us do it a lot.

Q: Are the receivers gonna erase more mistakes last year with the quarterbacks?

Cameron: I don’t know that that was any major factor. It happened on occasion. Our receivers are, as a unit, vastly improved. We have a nice influx of young guys who are very competitive.

Tyron (Johnson) is very competitive person. These young receivers, Derrick Dillon, Jazz Ferguson, they’ve been a nice addition to that group that was already pretty solid.

Anthony Jennings and Cam Cameron (Bill Feig)

Anthony Jennings and Cam Cameron (Bill Feig)

Q: It seems as if there’s more separation with Harris and Jennings than last year at this time. Do you sense that?

Cameron: I don’t think we collectively are ready to say that. I think that’s a compliment to all of the guys involved. Everybody … when guys are improving, everybody is elevating their game.

It’s one scrimmage. It’s one week of padded practices. I think this week will be a week that really can solidify some things if a guy chooses to do that. You’ve got to continue to build. You’ve got to stack quality performances. You’ve got to build on any positives, got to start erasing any negatives.

I can give you countless number of examples. I remember when Phillip Rivers was ahead of Drew (Brees) and Drew got ahead of Phillip and then Phillip never caught him until Drew moved on. Right when you think it’s going to play out a certain way, another guy just keeps getting better inch by inch and gets his opportunity and makes the most of it.

Q: How badly do you want this competition to end and make a decision?

Cameron:  Les will tell you and we would say collectively we’re just not to that point yet. There’s times to make that decision and there’s the old saying, ‘ Don’t make a decision until you have to.’ We’ve got some time. Got a few weeks here. Let’s say we make a decision and one play you’re going with the next guy.

The focus is getting everybody as ready as we can get them. If lightning strikes twice then Justin McMillan’s got to be ready. That’s what we’re called to do and we’ve got to make sure we’ve got that option too.

Q: Did Harris have an advantage in the summer while getting all of the first-team reps in 7-on-7s?

Cameron: That’s a bit of a misconception. We’ll have 7 on 7s on three different fields. Everybody’s getting reps. It wasn’t like if they were both there this summer, their reps were going to get cut in half. Justin was going to get less. They were going to get the same amount.

He was the only guy there. Any quarterback is going to benefit from getting to go with the 1s more and more and obviously he probably did.

Q: So was it a disadvantage for Jennings?

Cameron: If a guy has no playing experience, it’s a huge advantage. If a guy has got 12, 13 games, 15 games of experience, he has that to draw on. –

Q: How different is Harris from the time of last year’s Auburn game to now?

Cameron: They should grow tremendously and he has. When you’re running a system, the pictures in your head get clearer and clearer and clearer. The terminology that you have to speak, gets clearer and clearer and clearer. It’s like learning a new language. The more you do it, the better you get at of it.

It’s like anything you do visually. The more you do it the clearer the pictures become. The more you know the SEC, the more you know SEC defenses. It’s just cumulative. That’s why you continue to grow as a sophomore, as a junior. Everything improves cumulatively.

Donaldsonville WR Stephen Sullivan de-commits from LSU

Stephen Sullivan. (HEATHER MCCLELLAND)

Stephen Sullivan. (HEATHER MCCLELLAND)

Four star Donaldsonville receiver Stephen Sullivan de-committed from LSU on Sunday, he announced in a social media post.

Sullivan, the 12th-ranked receiver in the 2016 class in 247Sports’ composite rankings, said in the post that he “wants to make sure it’s the right decision for me and only me.”

Sullivan said his next decision on a school will be his final one. National Signing Day is schedule for Feb. 3. “LSU was my first D1 offer, so I guess you can say I got too excited about it,” he wrote. “I’m finally understanding what this recruiting process is all about. I realize I cannot rush anything.”

Sullivan, who committed in February 2014, said LSU will remain one of his “top schools” and that he “loves everything about” the school. TCU, Auburn and Mississippi State are three of Sullivan’s top schools of interest, according to 247Sports.

Sullivan is the second commit to pull his verbal pledge from the Tigers over the last few weeks. Highly touted University High linebacker Dylan Moses de-committed on Aug. 3.

The Tigers 2016 signing class remains ranked No. 2 nationally, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings, which compile all of the rankings from the major recruiting services. LSU now has 18 commits in the class and is expected to sign 26 this year.

The nuggets from LSU’s scrimmage, according to Les Miles

Quarterback Brandon Harris took the majority of the first-string snaps during LSU’s scrimmage Saturday in Tiger Stadium and was “more explosive,” coach Les Miles said Sunday.

Here are more nuggets from the coach’s press conference Sunday that opened LSU’s Media Day:

  • The stats: LSU quarterbacks went 20-for-34 passing for about 200 yards in the scrimmage with five drops from receivers. LSU ran the ball for 193 yards on 42 carries. The Tigers scored five touchdowns in eight possessions, the coach said.
  • The QBs: Harris received about “a half dozen” more snaps with the starters than Anthony Jennings. The first string was expected to get about 50 snaps during the 100-play scrimmage, Miles said earlier in the week. No. 3 QB Justin McMillan went 2 for 3 and tossed a 50-yard TD. “Brandon obviously was a little bit more explosive. Anthony more veteran,” Miles said.
  • Injury update: WR Trey Quinn suffered a non-serious head injury in Saturday night’s scrimmage, he said, during a collision with DE Lewis Neal. He said he did not suffer a concussion. Miles said Quinn was “nicked.” WR Travin Dural did not participate in the scrimmage after suffering back spasms late in the week. Miles said both Quinn and Dural should return to practice by Tuesday and that the injuries are “not serious.”

Ten Things We Learned Through Ten Day Of LSU’s Camp

Brandon Harris has the lead at QB. (AP)

Brandon Harris has the lead at QB. (AP)

LSU is set to scrimmage on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium, marking its 10th day of preseason camp.

We won’t know what happens in the scrimmage. It’s closed to the media and public.

Reporters were allowed a small window into the first four days of camp before coach Les Miles closed the doors on Monday. Players have been available for interviews on three of the first 10 days of camp. The coy and cryptic Miles has addressed the media five times, with little revealed by the 11-year leader of the Tigers football program.

The shroud masking LSU’s defensive scheme under new coordinator Kevin Steele is still somewhat in place, and the competition at quarterback, defensive end and cornerback are draped in some secrecy.

Through the first 10 days of camp, we learned that …

Brandon Harris has the lead at QB

  • The sophomore has clearly overtaken Anthony Jennings as the frontrunner in the QB battle. Harris has received the first snaps with the first string since Day 1 of camp and that was expected to continue in the scrimmage. Players and Miles have raved about the progression of a kid who struggled – mostly mentally – as a true freshman last season.

DE Arden Key will see substantial playing time

  • Key, the four-star prospect from Georgia, surged into an immediate second-string role and is challenging for spots vacated by Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco. He even replaced Tashawn Bower with the starting group while Bower was out with an illness early in camp. Key and fellow rookie Isaiah Washington are set to contribute greatly.

LSU will employ some 3-4 D

  • Outside of terminology, Steele’s defense isn’t all that dissimilar from John Chavis’ system, players say – except that Steele has a four-linebacker, three-linemen set. Several players say they’ve run some 3-4 in practice. Davon Godchaux and Lewis Neals are the ends, and Christian LaCouture is the nose guard. Still, expect LSU’s base D to be nickel.

The pressure’s high

  • It’s been a weird first week of preseason camp. Reporters had access to only the first four days of camp (thought to be a record low). The media went eight days without speaking to players, and boosters’ access to practice and scrimmages has been decreased. The pressure on Miles to win this season is high. Signs that he knows it are everywhere.

The O-line is pretty set

  • This doesn’t seem like a position group struggling to find starters. The Tigers seem to have found their five: LT Jerald Hawkins, LG Ethan Pocic, C Will Clapp, RG Josh Boutte and RT Vadal Alexander. Garrett Brumfield, Maea Teuhema and K.J. Malone seem to be the next three in if an injury were to befall one of the five.

    Derrius Guice is on pace to play early. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

    Derrius Guice is on pace to play early. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Derrius Guice and Nick Brossette will play early

  • Miles hasn’t lauded a pair of players more than these two local freshman running backs. Guice and Brossette have been called everything from “smart as whips” to “physical” to “talented, talented guys.” Judging from the comments, the two highly touted tailbacks will see immediate playing time in an offense built around its backfield.

Donte Jackson is fast, real fast

  • Jackson, ranked as high as the 10th-best prospect in the 2015 class, ran a 4.36 40-yard dash over the summer, Miles said. He’s competing, with Guice and Fournette, as a kick returner, and he’s been working with the second-string at cornerback. Miles says he may also be used on offense. Coaches want to get his speed on the field any way they can.

The Tigers will spread it out more

  • This has been a rumbling around the program over the last few months – that LSU’s offense will be more spread this season than ever before under Miles. The shotgun, the pistol, four-receiver sets, QB read-option and more. Miles admitted that the offense will show more spread this year to use its deep, talented receiver group.

Ed Paris is holding onto the starting CB job

Kendell Beckwith is poised for a breakout season. (Travis Spradling)

Kendell Beckwith is poised for a breakout season. (Travis Spradling)

  • One of the most uncertain spots on the team is the cornerback job opposite Tre White, the gig left vacant when Jalen Collins jumped to the pros early. Paris is hanging on to the starting role in the heated battle with true freshmen Kevin Toliver and Jackson. Expect, though, for those two rookies to continue challenging the sophomore throughout the year.

One injury at one of these spots could really hurt

  • The Tigers are thin on the defensive line and at linebacker, with just 19 scholarship players for those seven positions. LSU needs to keep tackles Davon Godchaux and Christian LaCouture healthy, and MLB Kendell Beckwith is another guy who must remain in good health with the season opener three weeks away.

Follow us on Twitter @DellengerAdv.

LSU coach Les Miles talks QBs, Ben Simmons, injuries, the spread and more

Brandon Harris took the first reps at quarterback during a 35-play scrimmage Thursday, but coach Les Miles declined to call Harris the favorite in the on-going QB derby between him and Anthony Jennings.

Les Miles spoke to reporters Thursday. (Rab)

Les Miles spoke to reporters Thursday. (Rab)

It highlighted Miles’ 20-minute post-practice news conference with reporters. Other nuggets from the chat:

  • Injury update: LB Lamar Louis (pectoral strain) remains in a green non-contact jersey but is participating in practice, Miles said. DE Tashawn Bower returned to practice after missing a few days for an unknown illness or injury.
  • More on QBs: Miles said it’s not important when he plans to tell the quarterbacks who will start the Tigers’ first game, and he declined to call Harris the leader of the race when asked. “Define that any way you want. I’m still going to wait to the back end of this thing to make a decision. Both guys are getting reps, both guys are getting better and that’s what I want,” he said.
  • Spread It Out: Asked if LSU will spread the field more offensively because of the depth at receiver, Miles said yes. He also said that he notices a comfort level when Harris in the spread. He said the same for Jennings.
  • Basketball To Football: Miles wants basketball freshman Ben Simmons, the nation’s top-ranked recruit, to join the football team as a goal-line receiver, he said. “If hes interested in taking snaps … I could give him a goal line position if he can catch,” Miles said. “He’d set the NCAA record for touchdowns.”
  • Under The lights: LSU’s scrimmage Saturday will start at night in Tiger Stadium. It is closed to the public and media. It will consist of about 50 plays, Miles said.
  • Backup Talk: Miles lauded freshmen defensive ends Isaiah Washington and Arden Key, at one point saying “Geez” when discussing the two. Even the coach is surprised, he said, how far they are mentally. He also said DT Greg Gilmore “looks like a starter.”
  • Kicker battles: The battle for the field goal kicking job is “really tight,” Miles said. Colby Delahoussaye, Trent Domingue and Cameron Gamble are all competing for the gig. Domingue has the lead for the kickoff job, Miles said.

This post will be updated.

Records: LSU assistant football coach banned from texting for six months

Les Miles. (Travis Spradling)

Les Miles. (Travis Spradling)

One LSU assistant football coach won’t be texting anyone for a while.

LSU disabled the text message feature on a football coach’s school-issued cell phone for six months as part of sanctions for an NCAA violation, according to documents obtained by The Advocate.

The school did not provide the football coach’s name and won’t because of privacy laws.

The sanctions stem from a recruiting violation that took place in the spring. The coach sent an impermissible text to a prospect – something the school reported to the NCAA on June 1.

Coaches can’t send recruits text messages at any point in the recruiting process. The American Football Coaches Association has pushed to get that rule changed, and the NCAA indicated in January that the recruiting rules committee is considering the proposal.

The coach’s texting feature on his phone was disabled starting June 1 and will be returned Dec. 1. Also, the coach was not permitted to call any prospect for the first two weeks of June. LSU could not send any recruiting materials to the prospect involved in the violation. No one from the school could call him or message him for 30 days starting on June 1.

The school did not provide the prospect’s name or year in the document, which would constitute another NCAA violation.

The Tigers currently have the No. 2-ranked commitment class for 2016, with 13 of 19 commits rated four stars or better.

LSU Twitter Mailbag: You asked about O-line experience, defensive line rotation and special teams playmakers

Vadal Alexander (left) and Josh Boutte make up 2/5s of the Tigers O-line. (Travis Spradling)

Vadal Alexander (left) and Josh Boutte make up 2/5s of the Tigers O-line. (Travis Spradling)

Twitter Mailbag is a blog series running each Tuesday or Wednesday answering readers’ questions about the LSU football and teams. Readers submit their questions through Twitter each Tuesday, and the best are posted here with answers. Follow us on Twitter at @DellengerAdv to submit a question.

I’m not sure I’d refer to the O-line as lacking experience. First off, good timing with this question. Our O-line Position Preview feature ran in Wednesday’s Advocate. Here it is. 

Secondly, back to that experience thing: RT Vadal Alexander, LT Jerald Hawkins and LG Ethan Pocic have a combined 73 starts. That’s a lot and a load of experience. All three players have at least one full year as a starter on their resume, and Alexander has three. Again, that’s a good chunk of experience.

The two new guys on the line don’t have experience, and maybe that’s what you were referring to in your question. Center Will Clapp is just a redshirt freshman, and RG Josh Boutte has never started a game in his two previous seasons with the Tigers.

To get to the bottom of things, Alexander says this group is the best O-line LSU has had in his four years with the program. And there’s a good chance he’s right. The group is big, strong and has three veterans at three key spots. The biggest questions remain with the tackles, though. Can Jerald Hawkins perform as well, or close to it, as La’el Collins, and can Alexander make a good transition from guard to tackle?

This is a great question. Most major colleges rotate their defensive linemen at a pretty good rate, but LSU didn’t do much of that last year. And that’s probably because the Tigers’ depth issues in 2014.

For instance, DT Christian LaCouture said he played every snap of at least one game. For a DT, that’s a ton and a rarity in the college game. At defensive tackle, Quentin Thomas saw some time in a rotating role, mostly with Davon Godchaux. Greg Gilmore, toward the end of the season, also rotated a small amount at DT.

At defensive end last year, LSU did have a pretty busy rotation – mostly because certain defensive sets called for different personnel. For example, when LSU ran the Mustang, Sione Teuhema served often as the DE instead of Jermauria Rasco. Deondre Clark also saw time in a few games in a rotating basis.

There’s an easy No. 1 here: Donte Jackson.

He’s been returning kicks, along with freshman Derrius Guice and Leonard Fournette. Jackson ran a 4.36 40-yard dash over the summer so he’s got the speed to return kicks.

Specifically, you asked about special teams coverage units. Keep an eye on sophomore Donnie Alexander. He’s on the kickoff coverage team. He’s a musclebound ex-Edna Karr standout who broke into special teams as a freshman last season and will likely play a role on defense, too.

David Ducre, the No. 1- ranked FB in the nation in 2015, will likely find himself on several special special teams units. I wouldn’t be surprised to see redshirt freshman Tony Upchurch on some special teams units. Sophomore safety Jamal Adams and cornerback Ed Paris may play a big special teams role as well.

Remember, reporters got a very small window to watch each of the first eight practices of preseason camp. There were no special teams units practicing during the open windows.

Not sure if you want a number on this, but if I had to guess … 60% chance.

They’re not easy games. Mississippi State won 10 games last season and has one of the nation’s best QBs in Dak Prescott. Auburn is the pick to win the SEC and, though AU travels to Baton Rouge, the game is during the day – a 2:30 p.m. start.

Either way, we’ll know a lot about this LSU football team after that Auburn game.